It's safe to say there's a pretty good chance you're in one of the following camps:
#1) Have no children, not sure if you ever will. Easily judge all parents and their childrearing skills. Think most, if not all, children are rather intolerable.
#2) Have no children but would definitely like to, or you own a very, very small child. Easily judge all parents and their childrearing skills, but are more specific, eg., "When I have a child, I'm going to make sure he/she is bilingual: it's important to do that from birth, you know. And he/she will NEVER eat sugar, will only eat organic food, and, most importantly, will NEVER, EVER watch television."*
#3) Have children--who can recite the entire lineup of Sprout Television and/or Noggin. Easily and still judge all others and their parenting skills.
#4) Have children, live by the creed in #2 above. Note to you: you are absolutely no fun to be around. Just an fyi.
I think we all start out at #1 and work our way down the list, each at our own pace. I'm a precarious resident at #3. I realize that Sprout/Noggin (which, for the uninitiated, are fairly commercial-less television channels programmed for the wee tots--age 2 and under, the first programmed by PBS, the second by Nickelodeon) are evil, as basically they're just holding pens to warm up your kids so that when they outgrow this programing, television will be a firm part of their agenda and they can be marketed to on regular television. Pure, unadulterated evil, I say.
But it buys me a half hour here and there. And my boy digs it. So I'm complicit in this cycle of brainsucking. Call me a horrible parent, but Babsie's La Mer isn't going to warm properly to release the key ingredients of the magic broth all by itself. It takes time, people. 'Bout a round of Max and Ruby and Thomas the Tank Engine, to be exact.
However, I may now have to draw the line. Because this heinous Star creature is freaking me out.
Star is the new "co-host" of the Good Night Show on PBS Sprout (see photo above). And he brings evil to a whole new level.
First of all, people talking to puppets just isn't right (except on Sesame Street, where they somehow pull it off). Like when they bring out a puppet (or worse, an animated character) to present at an awards show alongside an actual person and there's that weird "Where the hell do I look?" look from the person combined with bad teleprompter reading because it's awkward because they're not talking to a person. It's a damn puppet. It's uncomfortable for everyone, except maybe the puppet.
So go on, take a good hard look at him. Maybe they were trying to balance out Melanie (the other host)'s cuteness with a little yin and yang. If so, they nailed it.
First, the fur: he appears to be made out of a cheap plush that indents easily. So he always looks like he has some kind of huge scar running across his face--let's go ahead and attribute that to a gang fight gone awry. Then, they embroidered these little stars across his cheeks, which make him look like he's got some really deep pock marks--souveneirs of the rough years before he found rehab, Jesus, and the wonders of public television. Oh, and he doesn't blink, which makes him look downright menacing, so his innocuous script, eg., "What a fun craft, Melanie!", becomes just frightening.
Next, he's got a voice that's both high AND raspy. A cross between Lindsay and Chucky, with that Snuggle teddy bear thrown in for good measure. Like he had a really girlie voice, but after twenty years at 2 packs a day, he ended up at that particular octave.
The left and right points of his star each end with hands. But they're man-size hands (and the points have bulky "shoulders," so he looks like he's been spending a bit too much time at the gym. With Barry Bonds). So he's a
Then, the one thing you can't see here, and you may just have to tune in, drop out, and check it out yourself, is at the bottom of the star, in between the bottom left and right points, is what appears to be a pointy part of the hand that's steering this psychokiller monstrosity of a puppet jutting right out there. So, um, how do I say this...he looks like he's very happy to be there. Very happy.
So if you're residing in Camp #1, you may just want to stay there for a while until our friends at PBS can get this sorted out. Because, trust me, you'll need a half hour here and there, too.
*Or you'll be my friend A who actually pulled off rearing perfect, brillant, healthy-eating, non-television watching children--except her kids are tri-lingual: Russian, French and English. There may even be a touch of German or something thrown in. And she's not judgmental toward others at all. Damn my smart nice friends and their good karma.